Index of Anne Arundel County, Maryland Death Certificates, 1840 -1920


Author: Simmons, Christine N.
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: viii 278 pp.
ISBN: 9780806357997


Maryland death certificates are issued by the county where the death occurs, not according to residence or place of burial. Official death certificates for Anne Arundel County, Maryland, were not kept until 1840, and for some years thereafter were only reported sporadically. Beginning in the mid-1890s county officials made a more concerted effort to record deaths; however, the majority of early certificates were issued for a mere handful of localities, namely Annapolis and northern Anne Arundel County (places such as Curtis Bay, East Brooklyn, Brooklyn, and Fairfield). Many of the latter residents were immigrants who came through the port of Baltimore and may not have spent long enough in this country to have left much in the way of written records. Fortunately, death certificates enable the researcher to track a general location “across the pond” using the parent’s name and birth location. For example, the earliest death certificates in 1840 listed the name of the deceased, date and place of death, age, occupation, sex, race, marital status, spouse’s name, number of living children, parents’ names, cause of death, length of time of illness, and physician. By 1886 the birthdate, age by year/month/day, parents’ birth location, informant, place of burial, and undertaker had been added. Various certificate years after 1920 asked about the nature of the person’s occupation, citizenship, length of time at a residence, whether they had been in the armed forces, Social Security number, whether the person was buried or cremated, and the location of the cemetery/crematory.

This index names persons who died in Anne Arundel County and were known or presumed to have been buried in the county, including prisoners and institutional residents. Residents of Anne Arundel County who died outside the county (i.e., at a hospital in Baltimore) have not been included nor have persons who died in Anne Arundel County but were known to have been buried elsewhere (i.e., Arlington Cemetery). Information from this index was obtained from the electronic version of the death certificates at the Maryland State Archives and encompass the compiled records from the Board of Health for Counties from 1898- April 1910 (MSA SE42) and the Department of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics from May 1910-June 1951 (MSA SE43). The index, which is arranged alphabetically, gives the full name of the decedent and his/her month and year of death. The author has also included a very helpful introduction explaining the history of death records, changes in their contents, special tips for locating female decedents, the handling of stillborn deaths, handwriting issues, and more.

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